Fires, Flame Retardant, Fatherhood, and a Chat with the Head of the EPA

New Nooze for this June Wednesday: Kirk Siegler with KUNC in Colorado covers the fast-growing High Park Fire that is burning outside of Fort Collins:

The Challenge of Turning the Tide of the High Park Fire

Fire crews working against the High Park Fire took advantage of yesterday’s cooler temperatures and calmer winds. The lightning caused blaze  was updated Wednesday at 7:59am in the morning to 46,600 acres and 10% containment.

The skies above the normally sleepy little towns of LaPorte and Bellvue buzzed with a steady parade of choppers and planes dropping water and fire retardant on the flames in the nearby foothills. While the forecast over the next few days is concerning, fire managers are quick to point out that roughly a third of the nation’s current firefighting resources are now here in northern Colorado... Read and hear more.


Michael Hawthorne with the Chicago Tribune reports on a new study that suggests that common flame retardants may be doing far more harm than good:

Flame retardant linked to obesity, anxiety, developmental problems, pilot study finds

Small doses of a flame retardant commonly added to furniture and baby products can trigger obesity, anxiety and developmental problems, according to the first independent study of a chemical promoted as safe by industry and government officials.

Baby rats whose mothers ate tiny amounts of the chemical, known as Firemaster 550, gained significantly more weight than others that weren't exposed, according to a presentation Tuesday at a scientific conference here. The chemical made the female offspring more anxious, prompted early puberty and caused abnormal reproductive cycles.

"This raises red flags about a widely used chemical that we know little about," said study co-author Heather Stapleton, a Duke University chemist. "What we do know is, it's common in house dust and that people, especially kids, are being exposed to it."... Read more.


IJNR's very own Adam Hinterthuer had a guest post on the blog The Last Word on Nothing, in which he ponders nature versus nurture, and the trials of fatherhood. (Just in time for Father's Day!)

Fatherhood: Trying to Raise a Tomboy Princess

A while back, I was giving my three-year-old daughter, Brynn, a bath when she laid back in the tub and announced, “Look, Daddy, I’m a princess!”

When I asked what that meant, she replied that it was her job to just lounge around until some prince (any prince would do) came along to save her. I suggested she could save herself. Brynn just laughed. She was three and, already, Daddy didn’t get it.

“Crap,” I thought, “She’s three and, already, I’ve failed as a father.”

A future of body image issues and unhealthily dependent relationships and an insanely expensive wedding unspooled in my mind.... Read more.


And finally, Chip Giller and colleagues at Grist sat down for a chat with the head of the EPA:

"Screaming headlines" vs. reasonable people: A talk with EPA's Lisa Jackson

It’s been a bumpy road for Lisa Jackson through three and a half years as chief administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). But the 50-year-old chemical engineer doesn’t look fazed or fed up. A scientist-turned-insider who has learned that the levers of power don’t always budge without a fight, she shows a little steel in her eyes as she ticks off achievements and notes setbacks. But she also lets mischief color her laugh as she acknowledges what she calls the “toxic attitude of absolute certainty” that paralyzes progress on climate and other issues.... Read more.